By Colby Gable
Today, November 11, 2019 is Veterans Day. To celebrate the lives of those who have served and sacrificed in the military, the 13th annual Veterans Day Commemoration was held at the Boone Mall, and sponsored by the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, the Boone Mall and the Watauga Community Band. The Watauga Community Band also led the event with a prelude of patriotic music, as well as the service branch theme songs, and the closing ceremonies. Veterans from decades of service were in attendance, stretching from WW2 up until more recently, those who fought against the war on terror.
One of the aspects highlighted was the remembrance our past and why it is crucial we honor or assist those who have served in the present. Both Former Captain Doug May, who led the opening and closing remarks, as well as Rear Admiral Melvin W. Bouboulis, who was the event’s guest speaker, mentioned this notion of where Veteran’s Day originated from and why we still utilize it today. Captain May went on to talk about the holiday’s history, saying, “Armistice Day was the anniversary of the end of WWI, where our major hostilities ending on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month on 1918. It was renamed Veterans Day on 1954 as it was crowned a national holiday.” World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th 1919. However, the fighting ended seven months prior when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Nov. 11th, 1918, was considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. But World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1st, 1954, Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” so the day would honor all American veterans of all wars. Veterans of our military services have suffered the discipline to protect the freedoms that we enjoy.
The guest speaker, US Coast Guard Director of Operational Logistics, Rear Admiral Melvin W. Bouboulis talked a little about his own personal motivations to join the military, mentioning, “Those of you who have carried the burden, and experienced the fatigue of war, I offer you all a special thanks today. Thank you for setting the example that inspired me, and so many others. Many of you may be unaware, but less than one percent of the population serves in the armed forces, and of those only about 3% are in the coast guard.” Bouboulis duties include the delivery of support logistics for the Coast Guard steady state and contingency response operations and for planned events of national significance.
After discussing the coast guard’s history, and the various ways the coast guard is implemented within its role in the military such as environmental protection and border security, Admiral Bouboulis finished by saying, “Like all of our services, the coast guard has a rich history, and we stand on watch today. Today, we have folks serving all across the globe, from the China Sea to the Arctic Regions, to the oceans of South America…Whether you who served in times of war, or peace, whether you engaged in hard conflict or roles supporting and protecting others, whether the army, the navy, the air force, the marine corps, or the coast guard, the camaraderie we share in military service helps define us, so again, we thank you for your service.” He also mentioned discussions with a veteran from WW2, which reminded him to thank those who are no longer with us for the sacrifices they made as well.
Lance Campbell, Public Relations Director High Country Chapter Military Officers Association of America commented a little about the importance of veterans as well, mentioning, “Veterans of our military services have suffered the discipline to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated a part of their life to our country and deserve to be recognized for their patriotism and willingness to serve in war or peace.”